As the spring semester begins, hundreds of new freshmen and transfer students are joining UNC Charlotte. These new students are challenged to find housing, both on and off campus.
UNC Charlotte has 22 active on-campus residence halls ranging from traditional towers, suite-style and apartment-style rooms scattered across campus. Combined, the 22 residence halls are at 99 percent capacity, according to Dr. Aaron Hart, associate vice-chancellor for student affairs.
On Dec. 6, the Office of Housing and Residence life issued a statement, prompting students to worry if they would have a place to live come the start of the new semester.
“Due to overwhelming demand, we have a limited number of housing vacancies for spring 2019. New incoming students that have not applied for on campus housing yet or applied late in November should have back up housing plans in case we are unable to assign them a space.”
Hart explained that Housing and Residence Life was able to house every student who applied before the regular deadline for housing for the spring semester. At 99 percent capacity, there are still some rooms left; more available for females than for males.
“If you apply for housing, you might not always get your first or second option, but we will always work to find a place for you,” Hart said.
As the University approaches full capacity, Moore Hall is nearing demolition and its residents have been moved into new housing on-campus, occupying nearly 500 of the scarce on-campus bed spaces. Moore Hall opened in 1970 but is now being torn down along with Sanford Hall. The University is replacing the two older towers with a newer model designed by the same company who completed the Levine Hall Project. The new residence hall that will take its place is currently named Residence Hall XVI and is to be completed May 28, 2021.
Off-campus apartments are near capacity as well, even with the recent addition of private off-campus apartment community Haven49. Haven49 and University Crossings both have limited spaces available for the current academic year and have already begun leasing for next year.
The demand for housing in the area has led to the construction of three new apartment complexes in the University City area. The 2018 University City Partners Annual report highlights each of the new apartment complexes coming to University City.
Location: 8310 University Executive Park Drive
Cost of construction: $50,000,000
Completion Date: Spring 2019
Description: The plan is for a 5-story, 280 unit building with structured parking adjacent to the McCullough transit station. Street-level shops and other commercial use will take 5,000+ sq. ft. of space facing North Tryon Street.
University City Apartments at Tom Hunter
Location: 6919 N. Tryon Street
Cost of construction: $32,200,000
Completion Date: Spring 2017
Description: A new 376 unit apartment community adjacent to the University City Blvd transit station.
Oxford Gateway Apartments
Location: 7232 N. Tryon Street
Cost of construction: $874,350
Start date: Nov. 20, 2017
Completion date: Winter 2019
Description: Oxford properties is planning 302 apartment units in four-story buildings and 18 rental townhouses in three-story buildings.
The scarcity of housing in University City is a symptom of the rapid growth of UNC Charlotte and the greater Charlotte area. This fall, UNC Charlotte set an enrollment record of 29,710 students.
UNC Charlotte is not the only UNC-System Institution with a demand for more housing; NC Central was recently approved by the States Board of Governors for three new residence halls and UNC Asheville struggled to find housing for 294 students after one of its major residence halls was deemed uninhabitable by state authorities. Expansion is a goal of universities across the country but it brings about major challenges.